Coroner Slams Ealing Council After Tenant Death

Marwo Kassim fell from the balcony of her third floor flat

A picture of Marwo Kassim provided by her family
A picture of Marwo Kassim provided by her family


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November 28, 2023

Ealing Council has been criticised by a Coroner at an inquest into the death of a 39-year-old woman from Acton.

Assistant Coroner Richard Furniss concluded on Wednesday (22 November) that, although the death of Marwo Kassim was an accident, it happened because the council and London & Quadrant Housing Association (L&Q) had failed to provide her with a ground floor flat, despite concerns over her safety being raised for several years.

Marwo Kassim, fell from the balcony of her third floor flat on Bollo Bridge Road after an epileptic seizure on 19 June 2022, and died from her injuries nine days later, after being treated in hospital.

She had lived alone in the flat, provided to her by L&Q, for nine years, despite the concerns that her seizures meant there was a risk of her falling from the balcony being repeatedly raised by her family, her consultant neurologist and Marwo herself.

The three-day inquest at West London Coroner’s Court heard how a series of failings and missed opportunities by the council and L&Q, often related to poor communication with the family and between the two agencies, led to a seven-year long failure to deal with the issue.

He also found that a failure by the council to provide Marwo with a specialist epilepsy sensor which would have alerted others when she was having a major seizure, possibly contributed to her death.

Marwo’s family were represented at the inquest by solicitor Sarah Westoby, from the law firm Leigh Day, and barrister Jim Duffy of 1 Crown Office Row.

The block of flats on Bollo Bridge Road
The block of flats on Bollo Bridge Road

Speaking on behalf of the family, Marwo’s brother, Nasir Kassim said, “We feel relieved and vindicated by the result of the inquest and are grateful to the coroner for his conclusions which will help us reach closure after the pain and sorrow caused by Marwo’s death. We have waited a long time for our voices to be heard but feel we have at last been able to highlight the failings and mistakes made by the authorities which sadly led to this tragic accident. Marwo was a much-loved daughter, sister and auntie and we all miss her greatly. We hope and trust that lessons will be learned from Marwo’s death and that other families will be spared from the pain and frustration we have experienced.”

Sarah Westoby, said, “After many years of trying to get safe housing for Marwo and feeling they were not being listened to, the Kassim family finally feel their voices have been heard. My client hopes that similar agencies will now take note of the risk of housing people with epilepsy at height and pay greater attention to the concerns of vulnerable residents and their families. The Kassim family fought long and hard to try to get safe accommodation for Marwo. Although their voices were not heard until it was too late, they hope their struggle can help prevent similarly avoidable tragedies from occurring in future.”

A spokesperson for L&Q said, "We were deeply saddened by the death of Ms Kassim, and our thoughts are with her family, friends and neighbours.

"The safety and wellbeing of our residents will always be our number-one priority. Although the coroner ruled the death was an accident, and no Prevention of Future Death order was issued to L&Q, we will now take some time to reflect on the findings of the coroner's report."

An Ealing Council spokesperson said, “We send our condolences to Ms Kassim’s family. Due to ongoing legal involvement, we are unable to comment further.”

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